Sydney Awakens Technorati icon

December 14, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts

Silicon Valley and its citizens are magnificent at talking about themselves. It is a very powerful form of self reflection which builds a momentum for great creativity and innovation.

I remember reading Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines before I migrated to Australia. Here's something I have never forgotten:

'Sometimes,' said Arkady, 'I'll be driving my "old men" through the desert, and we'll come to a ridge of sandhills, and suddenly they'll all start singing. "What are you mob singing?" I'll ask, and they'll say, "Singing up the country boss. Makes the country come up quicker."'

Aboriginals could not believe that the country existed until they could see and sing it - just as, the the Dreamtime, the country did not exist until the Ancestors sang it'

Sydney is starting to talk about itself again - starting to sing itself into existence - after a long quietness and it is wonderful to see the gifted, committed and ambitious community that lives here.

For example, the recent Sydney STIRR looked like an inspiring evening (sadly I was in Seattle) and I hope the event continues and matures as a forum for the entrepreneurial spirit. If you like to think about the next great thing, and you know it can be made here in Australia, keep an eye on the Tangler blog for announcements for the next one. 

STIRR is organised by Tangler and Atlassian, two companies that get the importance of a fertile, local community. They are doing important work and it has been my pleasure to meet Scott and Mike (of Atlassian), Marty (of Tangler),  ... and Mick (Tangler)... well he's the godfather to one of my son's and I have admired his energy and work ethic for years since we worked together on Kazaa.

On Tuesday I went to WebJam. This was less about the entrepreneurial thing and more about peer communication and sharing. It was like a real-life blog experience with beer.  I had a great night and enjoyed being a part of the energy.

I met Lachlan Hardy who is one of the organisers. Hat's off to you mate for getting 190 people to a Sydney pub to jam about cool technology - especially when you've only been in town for a few months. What's next?

The standout for me was Angus Fraser's Inkoid project. Inkoid is a 'visual wiki' which Angus hopes to release early next year. To picture it, imagine a Google Maps-type of Ajax UX with an image instead of a map that can extend infinately through time and space. The critical feature that will make it successful is the ability to link to a specifc co-ordinate and point in time on the image. I can imagine visual blogs (imagine it on a tablet PC or an Origami device!), collaborative mindmaps, school projects...  

It was equially enjoyable to see simple UI ideas rather than whole products such as Dmitry Baranovskiy's javascript pie chart and Lachlan Hunt's form validation UX.

I had fun talking with Alisdair Faulkner who is sharp and knows his stuff. A 'creative cynic' - perfect for jamming a business idea with. Although, he took the piss out of my blog photo (I don't look like David Brent in "If you dont know me by now" do I!?)

Outside of these events I have been impressed with the constellation of other people I have had the pleasure to spend time with. Randal Leeb-Du Toit has been jamming with the Australian tech community for years since he created the Australian First Tuesday events during bubble 1.0. Formerly he is doing cool stuff down at NICTA but I think he understands that a cafe can be the birth place of the next big thing.

Mark Wells is working his magic at Foxtel. It must be a challenge bringing change to an institution like Foxtel but he is pulling it off. Watchout for some of the things up his sleeve coming to a Foxtel IQ, PC and mobile phone near you!

I tip my hat to you all.

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» Sydney = Silicon Beach? from Phil Morle: Adventures in Entertainment and Technology
Marty is linking to a piece in the Australian Financial Review which coins Sydney as 'Silicon Beach'.  I am proud to be doing my thing on Silicon Beach. There is some real talent here.... [Read More]

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